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Date: Wednesday 14 November 2007

Concern over 'below-inflation' increases for public services

UNISON, Scotland's public service union welcomed items in the budget such as the removal of ring-fencing of grants to local government, and the plans to phase out prescription charges in the NHS, but said today that an early scan of the budget led to serious concern for services - both in health and in particular local government.

Matt Smith, UNISON's Scottish Secretary said today "This is a very tight budget for the key public services, and seems to be predicated on a pay cut for public sector staff. Local government seems to be facing a very low increase, which will be hardly enough to deliver the current level of services, let alone address the increasing demands on local authorities, and even in health the increase does not match inflation in a service where inflation traditionally runs ahead of the RPI"

"We are also sceptical that increased 'savings' will deliver efficiencies - particularly if large chunks of them are retained centrally, rather than being used to deliver services. And you do not deliver decent services by cutting staff pay."

The union also welcomed increased investment in nursery provision, as long as this was not planned to dilute the professional role of early years workers.


For further information please contact: Matt Smith, Scottish Secretary 07771 548 997(m) Dave Watson, Scottish Organiser 07958 122 409 (m) Chris Bartter, Communications Officer 07715 583 729 (m)